RBZ in Tuli due diligence

HARARE - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) plans to carry out a due diligence of Tuli Coal Mine (Tuli), as it pursues the disposal of its 70 percent stake in the venture
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This comes after the central bank’s governor Gideon Gono announced in May 2011 that RBZ was disposing all its non-core investments to focus on its mandate.

“Tenders are invited from registered geologists for the provision of due diligence evaluation of Tuli Coal (Pvt) Ltd Mine,” said the RBZ.

The central bank said the geological evaluation of Tuli will facilitate the disposal of its stake in the coal mine.

The tender closes on May 14.

Meanwhile, the RBZ has been receiving offers since 2011 and a $40 million bid for the Beitbridge-based coal mine from Singaporean billionaire Sukamto Sia has failed.

The Asian investor, who had been introduced to the Zimbabwean market by known business broker and personal friend Wicknell Chivayo, had been waiting in the wings since last year.

Sources say Sia had offered quite a decent figure for an asset of Tuli’s calibre but the RBZ was evasive over the deal.

With governor Gideon Gono previously saying the central bank was struggling to pay retrenchment packages due to liquidity challenges, it had been anticipated that the disposal of this 70 percent-owned coal mine — along seven other companies — would free up cash for the exercise.

Of the eight non-core subsidiaries, however, only Tractive Power Holdings Limited has been transferred to Zimplow under the $140 million fundraising plan.

As things stand, the sale of several other companies, including Cairns, Homelink (Private) Limited and bio-diesel operator Transload (Private) Limited is still pending or unknown, although the RBZ had been hoping to use some of the proceeds to recapitalise and settle debts.

According to insiders, Chivayo has also brought in a group of Russian investors for a $6 million buy-out of Cairns.

The investors, it is said, have the backing of one of Asia’s biggest banks — HongKongShangai Banking Corporation. Sukamto and Key’s offer for Tuli, meanwhile, came as minorities — led by Katamba Trust (Katamba) — had also expressed an interest to buy out the RBZ.

On its part, Katamba has attempted quite a number of initiatives to revive the operation.

The multiple Tuli bids also come amid reports that one of Saudi billionaire Adel Aujan’s former country representatives once eyed the on-sale asset.

With vast coal deposits, the southern Zimbabwe mine is a hugely promising asset for thermal power investors, analysts say. - Business Writer

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